This has been a downright historic week in Pennsylvania. Wednesday PA went green with the long fought for passage of SB3, the medical cannabis bill. In the flood of well-deserved media coverage the passage through the PA Senate of SB50, the Industrial Hemp Act, went largely unnoticed.
Since its bi-partisan introduction in February 2015 by State Senators Judy Schwank and Mike Folmer, SB50 has not received a single ‘no’ vote as it moved through each stage up to and including Wednesday’s full floor vote. It has indeed sailed through. We will always be grateful and appreciative of our champions. Senator Schwank in particular deserves special thanks for her leaderships on this issue. She has spoken up at every opportunity and has done a fantastic job educating her fellow members on the importance of this crop as well has helping to get the Dept. of Agriculture excited for hemp’s potential.
Hemp had recently been described as perhaps the ‘least sexy but most common sense’ aspect of cannabis reform. While true, it is also unfortunate. Without the emotional impact and urgency associated with medical cannabis it can be challenging to get the same level of excitement for hemp. Few realize that agriculture is the number one industry in Pennsylvania. If you are not a farmer most don’t think much about it, yet it could not be more important. Whether directly or indirectly, hemp will benefit every single Pennsylvanian.
It’s easy to see how hemp will benefit farmers. It is a lucrative cash crop, replenishes soil when used as a rotational crop, helps with erosion control, requires little to no irrigation or pesticides and will play an important role in sustainable farming practices.
For the average citizen the reintroduction of this once vibrant industry will mean the creation of much needed new jobs both in processing and manufacturing. Having domestic hemp will bring costs of hemp products down so everyone can benefit from its tremendous nutritional and skin care value along with the literally tens of thousands of other products that can be made with hemp. Using hemp for land remediation, especially in the coal regions, could see many acres of unusable land put back into productive use. We all know that moving away from fossil fuels is imperative. Hemp has a large biomass and will help us reach our goals for clean and sustainable energy.
PAHIC is proud to be playing an instrumental part in bringing about this important legislation and helping getting it across the finish line. We have big plans to ensure that the hemp industry once again thrives and that Pennsylvania is the leader. The fate of this legislation and whether or not we can get started this year now rests on the House of Representatives and how quickly they move. PAHIC in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Farmers Union will be holding a lobby day on Monday the 21st to educate members and help them understand exactly how important this is.
Imagine a world where we are no longer decimating our land, poisoning our air and water with the extraction and consumption of fossil fuels. A world where we start making a positive impact on our environment and reversing climate change by the cultivation of hemp. Where we stop needlessly destroying trees and stop filling our landfills with non biodegradable products. Imagine a world were we not only live in harmony with our environment by using green energy but also enjoy a booming economy from our new found sustainability. Working together we don’t have to merely image it, we will make it reality. Please consider becoming a member of PAHIC to help support our efforts.
Food, fuel, green building products, textiles, plastic replacing composites, medicines, animal feed and bedding, the list of benefits goes on and on. It is worth getting excited about.
Spread the word. Its time that everyone gets to KNOW Hemp!